Why are some critics of action against Iraq so oblivious to reality that they sound like they’ve been hired by Iraq? Sheldon Richman’s recent editorials are a perfect example. His selective facts and leading questions are the techniques of propaganda, not journalism.
Can Richman truly expect any of his readers to believe the mastermind of 9/11 really wants peace? The claim that if we comply with bin Laden’s demands his terrorism will stop shows ignorance of his goals. Bin Laden has demanded that western forces abandon the Middle East so the residents can butcher each other and that every trace of things western be abolished from the region--by death, as needed--from democracy to soft drinks, from permitting women to drive cars or read books to permitting children to watch cartoons or fly kites. The problem is that the same television and cell phone technology that bin Laden uses when it suits him also means that the Middle East cannot be isolated from these influences, unless the West ceases to exist--one of his stated goals.
Richman likewise insults our intelligence by claiming that Hussein’s offense is merely being "independent" of the U.S. Is this his term for the invasion of Kuwait, missile attacks on Israel and Gulf states, chemical attacks on Iran, repression of Kurds, and financing of Hezbolla? Iraq’s offenses have been bad enough to gain the notice of even the United Nations, which has issued 16 resolutions that Iraq has violated. Richman conveniently ignores the sanctions on Iraq, imposed by the U.N. because Iraq refused to come clean on their WMD programs uncovered by the U.N.
In his zeal to condemn Israel and the U.S., Richman is even sloppier with the truth. For example, he claims the IAEA concluded the Iraqi reactor bombed by Israel in 1981 was a perfectly peaceful enterprise. The reality is Iraq planned to produce nuclear weapons plutonium from that reactor, and in 1995 Iraq told the IAEA that it had been converting the fuel from that reactor into a nuclear bomb when the U.S. meddled in 1991.
Saddam Hussein has used weapons of mass destruction against neighboring countries and his fellow citizens. He has called for the destruction of entire nations. Thanks to the ignorance of the U.N. he has rebuilt his chemical/biological weapons infrastructure and missile delivery systems and is somewhere from two years to two months short of having atomic bombs. As Rumsfeld has said, "Time is not on our side." Either the U.S. must stop Hussein very soon, or Hussein will drive headlong into a conflagration with his neighbors that even Richman won’t be able to sweep under the rug.
(printed in The Brownsville Herald January 2003)
© 2002, 2003 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 8 March 2003.
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